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Following EU Ruling, BBC Article Excluded From Google Searches 239

Albanach writes: In 2007, the BBC's economics editor, Robert Peston, penned an article on the massive losses at Merrill Lynch and the resulting resignation of their CEO Stan O'Neal. Today, the BBC has been notified that the 2007 article will no longer appear in some Google searches made within the European Union, apparently as a result of someone exercising their new-found "right to be forgotten." O'Neal was the only individual named in the 2007 article. While O'Neal has left Merrill Lynch, he has not left the world of business, and now holds a directorship at Alcoa, the world's third largest aluminum producer with $23 billion in revenues in 2013.
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Following EU Ruling, BBC Article Excluded From Google Searches

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  • by sremick ( 91371 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @03:05PM (#47371049)

    Soon you won't be finding this Slashdot article in EU Google searches either.

  • Indirect References (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ZipK ( 1051658 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @03:10PM (#47371107)
    Is Google responsible for "forgetting" all possible path to this BBC article? E.g., will this Slashdot article turn up in a Google search in the EU? How about this comment, if I include a link to the original BBC article? []
  • by Joe Gillian ( 3683399 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @03:14PM (#47371149)

    How long until a clone of Chilling Effects comes around and indexes all of the removals under the "right to be forgotten" law? Google could even link to them the same way they do Chilling Effects for sites that have been de-listed due to DMCA notices.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @03:23PM (#47371225)

    This law is just a workaround for the fact that humans don't think critically about the possible inaccuracy of information found on the Internet. Censorship (which is exactly what this is) is a greater crime against society, and should not be used here.

    Instead, we should require that employers, load evaluators, etc., be limited to what sources of information they can use when making a life-impacting decision. Such a law is hard to enforce, of course, but is better than this misguided censorship.

  • Re:Blaming Google (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @03:26PM (#47371263)

    Well, although the article is quite opinionated, it seems to reference events of the time, so it shouldn't be considered inaccurate unless the author was lying.

    O'Neal (the article spells it with an 'a', despite the summary substituting an 'i') is a director in a new company, so his activities as a CEO of a previous company are still relevant.

    And the events of the article are less than a decade old, so the article is definitely not outdated.

    So, by all counts Google is dropping the search results voluntarily without even trying to filter for any EU requirements. Thus this is squarely Google's bad.

  • Re: Not Voluntarily (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TaoPhoenix ( 980487 ) <> on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @03:28PM (#47371277) Journal

    In general I applaud the EU ruling *if* it really gets implemented fairly. But there's all sorts of wiggles to mess around with.

    We've been focusing on "that one guy" but look at this note way at the bottom of the article:

    "It is only a few days since the ruling has been implemented - and Google tells me that since then it has received a staggering 50,000 requests for articles to be removed from European searches."

    And that's 50K requests in a few days.

    Google can afford to hire "the army of paralegals", but does the ruling extend to smaller services? You can delist-bomb a small site out of existence when someone manages a "DDOS Distributed De-List of Service" attack on every article in their entire catalog. Then you get games where people try to de-list each other's materials.

    Not that I am a fan of Google, but I can bet a senior lawyer at Google is saying "well hell, besides the cost, if we have taken down seventeen million articles on all kinds of topics, there goes our ten year competitive advantage of useful searches."

  • Re:Blame Google. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DutchUncle ( 826473 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @04:21PM (#47371727)
    "Public Interest" . . . I once sat on a jury on a libel case, in which a financier was suing the Wall Street Journal for having said defamatory things about him. The judge instructed us very clearly that truth is not an absolute defense; that is, even if every single thing in the article was provably true, it would still count as libel if it was (for example) just rehashing old information to defame the financier as he tried to start up a new operation.

    If you submit a resume, people check your references, but apparently keeping people from finding out an *executive's* history just requires bigger lawyers.
  • Re:wait (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MobyDisk ( 75490 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @04:57PM (#47371981) Homepage

    They didn't remove the article entirely.

    we are no longer able to show the following pages from your website in response to certain searches on European versions of Google:

    They don't say which searches, but the wording implies that searches for Stan O'Neal [] will be affected. But searches for the former CEO of Merril Lynch [] should work just fine.

If it's not in the computer, it doesn't exist.